Woman employee falls to death as rope snaps

A fire drill at a garment factory went horribly wrong on Friday when a rope snapped sending a woman employee plummeting to her death from a height of nearly 15 metres.

According to eyewitnesses, C.R. Nalina (24), a Senior Welfare Officer at Bombay Rayon Fashions Ltd. in Yeshwanthpur, fell head first onto the concrete floor below. Co-workers rushed her to a hospital in Krishnanagar but it refused to treat her. She was then moved to another hospital in Basaveshwarnagar where efforts to revive her failed.

Co-workers said the event began at 10.30 a.m. with a few presentations and speeches. At 11 a.m. the entire premises was evacuated and the employees gathered outside to watch the drill.

Around 11.30 a.m., personnel from the Fire and Emergency Services proceeded to demonstrate one of their more eye-catching manoeuvres. The move involved lowering a person from a height using a rope harness.

First a man was lowered and landed safely. When the fire personnel called for another volunteer, most people backed out but Ms. Nalina stepped up to the challenge.

“She probably felt that as a person responsible for employee welfare, she should set an example,” said one employee. She was put on a harness and lowered from the third floor window. “The rope snapped when she was nearing the second floor,” said Regional Fire Officer J.H. Ravishankar, who was on the spot.

Fire personnel initially told The Hindu that the rope used in the manoeuvre was a brand new one and made of nylon. But when the blood-soaked rope was brought to the hospital where the post-mortem was conducted, it became amply clear that it was not made of nylon. It also looked fairly old and worn out. A safety net was also not used during the drill.

A fireman who has spent over 20 years in the department said that a live model should never have been used for the demonstration.

A.R. Infant, Director-General of Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department, said: “It is too premature to come to any conclusion. Let's wait for the investigation results.”

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